My Top Ten Games of the Year 2021

Mitchell Lineham
6 min readJan 4, 2022

2021 was a great year for games, even with the delays and setbacks unfortunately brought on by Covid-19, but ultimately I struggled to whittle my list down which says a lot about the high quality of games that released this year! As always, I do not include remasters (unless they add or change content in a large and meaningful way), or DLC (unless it can be accessed or understood without prior knowledge of the game it is attached to). So, without further ado, let’s look at my top ten, starting with number ten!

Mario Party Superstar

Mario Party Superstar is a delight, and I haven’t played it nearly as much as I’d have liked to! A greatest hits of sorts, Superstar is a great multiplayer game and one that has been very welcome given Covid-19 is still running rampant. If you’re looking for something that anybody can play and will slap a smile on your face, then this is it.

No More Heroes III

No More Heroes III isn’t my favourite in the series, but it is brilliant. For Travis Touchdown’s final outing I was hoping for more closure, but this felt like another crazy adventure rather than a climactic one. I didn’t see as much of the side characters as I wanted, but Travis is still a delight and the combat is at its very best. STRAWBERRY! RASPBERRY! BOYSENBERRY!

It Takes Two

It Takes Two is a fantastic multiplayer game — made even better as I was able to play with my girlfriend for free as I’d purchased a copy! It Takes Two is unique and tackles several different genres excellently. I was very impressed with this one, and fully recommend it to anybody who wants to play with their partner or someone else.

Metroid Dread

I’m not super familiar with Metroid, but have always been very curious about the series. I played Super Metroid in anticipation for Metroid Dread, and oh my gosh is Dread a very good game. It revels in just being a game, with all the exploration and fast-paced combat that I could want. I’m excited for my next playthrough on a harder mode. Those E.M.M.I.s really are terrifying!

BUSTAFELLOWS

If you know me, then you know I love Otome games. A whole lot. BUSTAFELLOWS gripped me from the very beginning with its high-production quality, but its story and characters are what kept me glued until the very end. Although I think the actual ending rushed a lot of things and didn’t tie things up as neatly as I’d have liked, I’m happy to have had answers at least, and it didn’t sour my experience. Give it a go if you enjoy visual novels!

P.S. Mozu is my favourite (he’s on the left, with the cat!)

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

What a return to form for Ratchet & Clank, and an excellent showcase of what the PS5 is capable of. Entertaining and breezy, I find myself wanting more games like this. Colourful, character and story-driven platformers, with the addictive quality of also being a collectathon. Insomniac Games seems to be able to do no wrong — I’m so happy to see this series come back in such a powerful way once more!

Little Nightmares II

Little Nightmares is one of my favourite games, and its sequel is every little bit as good. It provides some answers and more questions, and it really encouraged me to think about the events of the two games and their timeline. I hope we see more, even though developer Tarsier has since been bought by Embracer Group. If this is how Six and Mono’s story ends, then I am satisfied.

Still waiting on that Henry Selick TV show, though…

Monster Hunter Rise

Monster Hunter Rise… you are a gem. This has pipped World to being my favourite Monster Hunter game, primarily thanks to its mobility options. It’s hard to go back now! It’s great to play solo or co-op, and playing with randoms online has been fun too, and I can hardly wait for Sunbreak.

Pokemon: Brilliant Diamond

I’d never played this generation before, so it was entirely new to me. Although I loved Shield, Brilliant Diamond really did highlight what I love about Pokemon. It can be challenging, it rewards exploring, and the Grand Underground is a blast. I’m really excited to see what Legends does to expand on Sinnoh’s lore.

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

I will consume anything Ace Attorney releated, and I’d waited a long time for this one, and it didn’t disappoint. Both games come together to form a lengthy, satisfying journey, and I’ve missed these characters a lot since completing it. I was hooked to it over the course of a week or two, and the game lasts a good 50 or so hours! Play it, play it, play it, and play the other Ace Attorney games too!

Honourable Mentions

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker

Is this cheating? Maybe, but I’m my own Editor, so I say it’s okay! I’ve put this here because it’s a fantastic experience and one that allows me to spend quality time with my girlfriend and some of my best friends, but it’s an honourable mention as you have to play a lot of game to get here. You can’t just jump in, it isn’t standalone, etc, but it is more than worthy of being highlighted as one of the best gaming experiences of the year — and onwards!

Disney Magical World 2: Enchanted Edition

This one is a remaster, but it’s a banger. If you love Disney, Animal Crossing and/or Rune Factory, you have to give this one a go. It’s brought me a lot of joy this past holiday season.

Well, that’s it. Another great year for gaming — and it looks like 2022 will be following suit. Happy gaming!

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Mitchell Lineham

Writing "The Presence of Eve", repped by Tiger Lily Publishing Co. | Hang around for Otome and Disney | Mostly active here, Instagram, Letterboxd and Goodreads